Monday, November 12, 2007

"I'm good enough, smart enough, and darn it people like me"

Ok....this is for Danny and Liese....Raise your hand if you know where that phrase that I titled this post is from? A few of you, ok. It is a quote from a regular feature on Saturday Night Live ages was from "Stuart Smalley's Daily Affirmations". :) It was a rare, usually clean, really funny skit poking fun at America's obsession with counseling, therapy and self-help groups. The host, Stuart Smalley, used to start the show by saying the phrase that I titled this blog. And then throughout the show he would sometimes start criticizing himself and then he would say "...but that's ok, because I'm good enough, smart enough, and darn it - people like me".

So this is the story...its a three- parter. Hang in there...I really think its worth it.

Quite a few years ago God did a really amazing thing in my life. I was reconciled with someone who had really greivously wronged me. I say I was reconciled because rather than me just forgiving them (which I had been doing for years) they actually repented and asked for my forgiveness. It was amazing and a statistical anomoly.

At a church New Year's Eve concert (Janie Collup Band, yeah!) I was telling someone the great news and they said "You need to share that with the whole church!" I said I would love to but there wasn't really an appropriate forum for that. The next day, New Year's Day, very uncharacteristically, our Pastor - Steve Carr - announced at the beginning of the service that instead of the sermon he had prepared he was just going to open the mike and let people share what God had done in their lives that past year. My friend whipped around and looked at me where I sat in the back row and I knew that I was supposed to tell what had happened.

When everyone had shared and they had asked a second time if there was anyone else, I knew it was my turn. I stood up and - even though I was sharing pretty generally without getting into details - I got very choked up and started to cry a little. I knew that would happen. And I said so...and after I said so, I thought "but that's ok". :) And as soon as I said that, I had to laugh, because I thought of Stuart Smalley's oft-said line and I quoted him. "I'm good enough, smart enough, and darn it - people like me". Everyone laughed, that was that. I thought.

A month or so later I am hanging around after Sunday night service talking to the worship leader (Folkrod) and asst. pastor (Bill) and a couple from the church (anonymous) and in the course of laughing and joking around I said that again. The wife looked at me oddly, looked at her husband quizzically, and then asked me "Why do you always say that?" I was caught off guard because I didn't think I "always" said that...but maybe quoting an often off-color show like SNL in church was too often enough!

I explained that it was a quote from SNL, and I supposed I should quit saying it. She looked relieved, looked at her husband and then back at me and said...and I'm not kidding here...she said "Oh! We just thought you were being arrogant!" I laughed and then was mortified! How many other people didn't get the joke and thought the same thing! (Ok, moral of the story here, don't get too loose joking in church!)

Ok...part forward a couple of years later. I am living in Ukraine and come home that first year to attend the CBA (Christian Booksellers Association) convention in Anaheim, CA. At a private luncheon for my former workplace (Parable Christian Stores) Jennifer Knapp is invited to give an exclusive concert. It will be just her and two other acoustic musicians playing to a roomful of about 200 Christian bookstore owners...the most successful in the country at the time.

Before the concert I see her sitting in an adjoining room to the banquet hall and so I go and introduce myself and start talking to her. It was just her, the two musicians and her manager. They were great. She had performed at some festivals in Estonia and we were talking about the possibility of doing something in Ukraine. She was very nice.

In the course of the conversation I somehow mentioned SNL. She said "Oh! I can't even watch it anymore, it has gotten so bad". I agreed, but said worse than watching it was probably quoting it in church. She looked agahst and said "you didn't!". I had and I quickly told her the story. She laughed and then her manager told her it was time for her to start the show. I said my goodbyes and slipped in the back door to the banquet room as she went in the "stage" door.

Once in the hall I found a place next to the sound booth guys (they are always the most fun to hang out with at concerts, right, Danny?). Jennifer is sitting up on the stage warming up and just chatting with these bookstore owners that can really make or break her career by promoting her album. She is sharing her heart for why she does ministry and what not. She is speaking slowly and deliberately as she tunes her guitar. Then, in what I was learning, was her characteristic wry sense of humor, she says "yeah, because if it weren't for all that [her ministry philosophy she had just shared]... it would just be about me sitting up here looking pretty".

Funny, right? Only hardly anybody laughed! "Hey, I'm joking!" she said quickly and then more people laughed, but still not that many! Then she says "Oh, I know, someone in the back is elbowing their husband saying 'Oh! We just thought you were arrogant!' My joke! My story! Jennifer Knapp used my joke on stage! :) I turned and told the sound guy and he didn't believe me...then - whether he believed me or not - he got me again by saying "Oh you're just so arrogant!" :) Ooo! Zinged again! :) hahaha!

So there ya go...probably best not to even watch SNL these days...but if you do...definitely don't quote it in church. In blogs? Well, that's up to you. :)


josh said...

Back in '97, around the time my wife and I met this really awesome soon-to-be missionary in Ukraine, we took a bunch of kids from the youth group we were leading to see Jennifer Knapp in concert at this little church. Our group was in the front row and being well... middle schoolers. Jennifer was amazingly gracious and funny, despite the church that the kids were making a ruckus. We talked to her afterwards and apologized. She was so down to earth and humble. I really have a lot of respect for her and your story is consistent with what I saw of her character.

Good warning about using cultural references in church -- either people don't get it and are confused or they get it and often are offended.

Michelle said...

Jennifer needs to send you residuals for that joke.......

As for people not laughing.....some people don't have a sense of humor. OR, you have to gauge your audience a bit and hone your jokes to your target audience. I think you have great delivery! :/ :)

Anonymous said...

Bravo, what words..., an excellent idea